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Frequently Asked Questions

Why has the price for vital records gone up?

The Maryland State Archives has re-evaluated the fee structure in light of the actual cost of providing this service. Our new fee, $25 per certified copy, reflects the costs to process an order.

Why does the index take so long to search? And, can the index be broken into smaller sections?

The Maryland State Archives has placed the entire index online, and the digital index is as complete as the original microfilm, card, or manuscript index. To enhance access to the digital version we have divided the index by letter, a feature not available in the original format. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to break the indices down further.

Please keep in mind that download speed is also dependent upon computer equipment and internet connections. By placing the index online, patrons now may access these records from their own homes and from across the country, rather than traveling to Annapolis, Maryland, or hiring a professional.

What if there are names missing names from the index?

The Archives has placed the entire index online. Unfortunately, indices are sometimes incomplete and records may exist that have not been covered by the index.

This digital index is as complete as the original microfilm, card, or manuscript index. As part of the appraisal process, we will add cards to the online index as missed or incomplete documents are located.

Please keep in mind that occasionally the information forming the basis of a search may be incorrect. For example, an individual may have resided in one county or city, but actually died somewhere else. A death certificate is issued in the place where the death actually occurred.

I do not see any cards. What is wrong with the system?

Please be sure that you have the latest version of your web browser. The website was tested using Microsoft Internet Explorer (Version 6.0) and Netscape (Version 7). The website contains special features that may create errors in older browsers. On extremely rare occasions, technical difficulties may result from an unusually heavy volume of traffic on our server.

All of the PDF files are black or smeared. What is wrong with the images?

Please be sure that you are using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is a free download from Adobe. Earlier versions of Acrobat Reader may not correctly read the PDF files.

When I select a series of cards, I am taken to a different time period or section of the alphabet. What is wrong with the system?

The State Archives organizes its findings aids for records on the basis of the government agency that created the documents. When agency names were changed, the record listings reflect this fact, often resulting in the creation of two inventories for the same set of records, artificially divided on the basis of the date of agency name change. Thus, for example, the death index for Bia-Bys, 1904-1913, is listed twice as

1904-1910/06/30, Bia-Bys, MSA SE 6-9
1910/07/01-1913, Bia-Bys, MSA SE 7-2

because of an agency name change on July 1, 1910. Since both are derived from the same microfilm reel, both links will go to the same set of cards encompassing the full date span of 1904-1913.

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